Vote-Buying in the Philippines Takes a New Form: Gadgets Instead of Cash Bribes


A senatorial candidate in the Philippines, millionaire Jamby Madrigal, is on the hot seat due to an advertisement in her Facebook fan page account that if anyone "likes" her page, they will win a free Apple iPad.

The image describes three easy steps to win such device:

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The contest was supposed to end on March 12 and the winner of the Apple iPad would have been announced on March 15.

The same offer is found in her Twitter account - @TheRealJamby containing the text "Speak your mind out about corruption and win an iPad" plus the facebook link.

The tweet has been retweeted for 12 times at around 3 p.m. on Feb 15.

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The camp of tMs Madrigal, an administration candidate who comes from the clan of shipping magnates, blamed campaign volunteers who tap social media as one of their strategies.

Ms Madrigal, who lost in her 2010 presidential bid, immediately apologised to the Commission on Elections which is conducting an investigation on the matter.

Ernesto Francisco, lawyer of Ms Madrigal could not explain how campaign volunteers could afford such advertisement. An informal check has also leaked that the brand new iPad will cost between P20,000 to P30,000 depending on the memory capacity. The campaign volunteers are not expected to receive any monetary compensation from a candidate for their work.

"The former senator apologizes to the Comelec for what the volunteers and the public that such incident will not be repeated. From here on, she will make sure that her campaign team will follow the elections law," Mr Francisco said.

The Comelec has warned Ms Madrigal, a former senator, that she could be disqualified if found guilty of violating the country's electoral laws..

Ms Madrigal has taken down the promotional advertisement in her Facebook fan after Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes warned her of possible disqualification for illegal campaigning.

The use of gadgets are come-on for voters is a change from illegal cash payments candidates make to win an election, indicating the changing demographics of the country's voter demographics as more young and tech savvy Filipinos decide the fate of their country through the ballot box.

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